The Donkey Whisperer

A true, brave pioneer.

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© REUTERS

A man and his donkey, can it get any better?

Sandy Hutchins, Staff Writer

We have all heard of Cesar Millan, The Dog Whisperer; however, you have probably not heard of the great, the mystical, and the brilliant Donkey Whisperer, Mark Ineson. Unlike Cesar Millan, who can train dogs to be perfect and help owners keep their best friends, Mike is able to transcend the boundaries of species and has claimed to be able to translate a donkey’s “ee-aws” to words through the use of technology (You just can’t make this stuff up). This is truly a revolutionary feat if proven to be true.

Mark Ineson is the owner of Real Donkeys and has been studying donkeys for more than 20 years. From his experience and research he says that donkeys are very emotional creatures. Mark lives in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, England and has a lot of experience with these animals personally. He owns 17 donkeys alone, one of which is a 12-year-old donkey named Carl. And some of his donkeys have, in the past, won the prestigious award of being the “Best Beach Donkey.”

Mark and his Real Donkeys have teamed up with the entertainment group Merlin Events to create a donkey ride that stands out from the rest. The main feature of these “special” donkey rides is the new technology that allows the rider to hear what the animal is feeling through the seemingly magical translation of the animal’s sounds into speech, and not only just speech but complete sentences at that. I don’t know about you but personally, that feature turns a laughable excuse for a “ride” at the state fair to an interesting endeavor to embark upon. I mean, who wouldn’t want to say that they talk to donkeys?

This is such an incredible achievement it makes one wonder how it could be possible; I mean, talking to animals? However crazy it might seem, it is a reality and it is possible. But before the aspiring donkey linguist can translate the language of donkey, they must first understand the complex communication systems. First off, the “ee-aws” we all hear is called braying and is their chief manner of communicating to each other and their owners. Also in the repertoire of the donkey are nudges and facial expressions that Mark and presumably other donkey specialists can pick up on. And only after years with these magnificent creatures can you begin to pick up, as Mark puts it, “their mannerisms, their emotions, what they’re thinking basically.” And once the aspiring donkey linguist has achieved this level and depth of emotional connection with the Equus asinus can the translation begin. In Mark’s case he has designed a piece of technology that “analyses the unique sounds, frequencies and vibrations of each donkey’s ‘ee-aww,’ triggering a phrase that reflects what the donkey is feeling.”

Mark has achieved what millions of others have been attempting to do since the dawn of time, communicating with another species. In Mark’s case he chose that lucky animal to be the majestic donkey in all its true glory. A terrific decision in my opinion.